While sitting there for an hour or so, while a gentle breeze blew, Lulu was playing in the flower bed. She noticed it was just filled with weeds. That was her job when she was little. She wondered who did it when she left, probably Pa she thought. He would be so disappointed to see all those weeds messing up her Ma's flowers. She decided to do something about it.
She went to the barn and got a trowel and an old rug. She put the rug down and got to pulling and digging the weeds. Mary was out there for hours. She forgot how much she liked being outside with her hands in the dirt. In the city, there was no chance of that happening.
"Mar, what are you doing?”
She was startled and jumped. "What does it look like I'm doing Johnny, weeding!” she said in an exasperated tone.
"I can see that but why?”
"I came here to get things fixed up so we could sell. I noticed no one's felt the need to do any weeding so I thought I'd get to it. Didn't you ever hear of curb appeal?”
He just shrugged and went to the car to get the groceries to put on the porch.
I've got to get my act together she thought. Johnny was the brother closest to her in age and was always the peacemaker between her and Jimmy. She needed him on her side just in case.
"Johnny,” Mary said while he was putting the bags on the porch. "I really appreciate the angel and the note, thank you.”
"No problem. I remembered how much you liked them and as far as the note that's how I feel but I can't vouch for Jimmy. You know he's still very upset about Ma and Pa and other stuff but he promised he wouldn't mention to anyone that you were here. How long are you planning on staying?”
"I'm not really sure, but I took a leave of absence for a couple of months. I figured I'd wait and see how it goes.”
"Well, I better get going. I'll leave you to yourself. One more thing, Jimmy, Donna and the kids are going on a two week vacation so at least you won't have to worry about him for a while.”
"That should be fun, where are they going?”
"Elizabeth's grandmother left her a cabin somewhere in Canada. Mitch is still Jimmy's best friend so they asked if they wanted to come."
Mary abruptly said "I'd better get those groceries in the house before they spoil, thanks for bringing them" and she was in the house like a flash.
Mary took the groceries in the kitchen and she heard Johnny's car leaving. She chastised herself for leaving so quickly. Oh well, there's nothing that can be done about it now.
She sat down at the table and started talking to Lulu who had barely made it in the house when she shut the door. "So Jimmy and he are still best friends. I just hope Jimmy keeps his mouth shut. They'll have a lot of time together on vacation to talk. Mitch is the last person on earth I want to know that I'm here. Oh, how I've missed Elizabeth all these years but that can't be helped. I've got at least two weeks before I have to be concerned with what Jimmy said or didn't say. I'll just forget about it for now."
With that Mary, started taking the groceries out of the bags and putting them away. Johnny must think I'm a big eater; he sure bought a lot of stuff. Although she hadn't had breakfast or lunch, she wasn't that hungry. Even with the breeze reaching the evening, it was getting hot. She decided to have a little something and decided to make herself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She laughed when she thought how many times her Ma had made them eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when her Pa's crops didn't grow. Now she was willingly going to eat it. Her Ma would sure get a good laugh out of that.
She took her sandwich and a glass of wine and went to the front porch. She thought about what her city friends would think of her now. She was still wearing the same clothes that she came in yesterday, no shower, eating a PB & J sandwich and a glass of wine. Well, at least they would approve of the wine. Mary ate, drank and rocked looking at how nicely the flowerbed was coming along. Another day and it should be up to her Pa's standards she thought.
It was starting to get dark and she could feel the mosquito's starting to bite so she went in. "Well, Lulu I guess I should take my luggage upstairs and take a quick shower". He quickly ran up to the top of the stairs. As Mary was walking up the steps, she noticed her Ma had put photos on the wall next to the staircase since she'd been away. She smiled as she saw her brothers, her and other family members. She got further and further up the steps until she got to the last picture of her Ma and Pa's wedding. There was their bedroom when she looked across from the last step. The door was closed. Suddenly, Mary was paralyzed and couldn't breathe. She couldn't go any further. She ran back down the steps with Lulu following close behind.
"Maybe I'll try again tomorrow, Lulu. I think I'll sleep on the couch with grandma's quilt one more night."
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